Remarks at formal campaign announcement
October 14, 2015
Good morning, my name is Paul Schimpf and I am running for the Illinois State Senate in the 58th District because Springfield needs common-sense leadership we can trust.
Illinois is still at a tipping point. We don’t have a balanced budget, we can’t pay our bills on time, and every day we still lose good people and jobs to our neighboring states.
Right now, in our state, politics is too important to leave it to political class. They have shown that they are not capable of solving these problems on their own.
The good news is: I’m not a part of that group. I grew up in Waterloo, Illinois as the son of two school teachers. I spent most of my adult life serving our country in the United States military. I served 24 years, beginning in the United States Navy and finishing in the United States Marine Corps, getting out as a Lieutenant Colonel in 2013.
If you have had a successful career in the United States military, you bring two things to the table. First, you are able to work with people from across the political and social spectrum. Second, you are not afraid of a challenge and you are not afraid to be thrown into the proverbial deep end of the pool.
That being said, I’m not intimidated by the dysfunction that currently reigns in Springfield and I believe we can turn Illinois around.
We will not, however, turn our state around until we get our fiscal house in order. This will be my top priority as a state senator and it is the reason I am running for office.
Balancing our budget, however, cannot be accomplished without doing two things. First, we must revitalize our economy. We cannot solve our problems simply through raising taxes or cutting spending. We must grow our economy. I am willing to make the difficult choices necessary to bring fiscal stability to our state.
Second, we must also reform our failing pension system. I will lead by example in this area and refuse to accept a pension from the State of Illinois.
I will also insist that any pension reforms comply with the Illinois Constitution. This is consistent with my position from my campaign for Illinois Attorney General when I strongly opposed the pension fix because I believed it was blatantly unconstitutional. My position was validated by a 7-0 ruling by the Illinois Supreme Court.
Many friends have asked me why, after a successful career in the United States Marine Corps, I would want to enter the dysfunction of politics and put my family through the crucible of a campaign. The answer is simple: when I hung up my uniform for the final time, it didn’t change who I am. I believe you have a duty to serve. I also believe that the magnitude of the challenges facing our require those who have the ability to unite our state and provide leadership to offer their service.
That is what I believed when I ran for Illinois Attorney General in 2014. Although we lost that race, I am extremely proud of the campaign we ran. Where we got our message out, we prevailed. We beat Lisa Madigan decisively in the 58th Senate District and won 68 out of 102 counties in Illinois, including 43 counties that had voted for Lisa Madigan in the previous election.
I do have to make a confession at this point. I was not intimated by challenging the Madigan Machine in the 2014 election. I am, however, nervous about attempting to follow in the footsteps of David Luchtefeld.
I met Senator Luechtefeld during my Attorney General campaign. Senator Luechtefeld epitomizes the statement, “to lead is to serve.” I am tremendously honored that Senator Luechtefeld asked me to run for this seat and has endorsed me for this position.
I have asked you to trust me and send me to Springfield. Many others make the same request for your trust. The difference is that you have actually already trusted me for 24 years.
You trusted me when I was a student at the United States Naval Academy to get a good education and make sure that your tax dollars were not wasted.
You trusted me when I was an infantry officer in the United States Marine Corps to make sure the young Sailors and Marines under my command were kept safe and well trained.
You trusted me when I was the head prosecutor for Marine Corps Western Recruiting Region to seek justice, not convictions.
You trusted me when I was the lead American attorney-advisor to the Iraqi prosecutors in the trial of Saddam Hussein to represent the United States and make sure international due process standards were applied.
I’m asking you to trust me again.
Send me to Springfield to represent you and make the tough votes on how we can reform our state, revitalize our economy, and still keep our promises to the people of Illinois who have relied on them.
Trust me to vote our values: limited government, individual freedoms like the 2nd Amendment, religious liberty, and a respect for life.
I’m asking for your trust and your vote.
Make me your next state senator and continue our legacy of having common-sense leadership we can trust in Springfield.
Thank you and God bless you all.